A Day in the Ebola Outbreak
Journalism Can Be Dangerous
For the past few months, I have been gathering information from Guinea. As a journalist I am always putting myself in the center of danger. Inside the hospital, the main focus is staying healthy and alive. The people in the hospital die on a daily basis. Being at the center of this crisis is an honor because I can cover exclusive news. It is unfortunately frightening because there is a great chance that I could become infected as well.
Every day I am required to wear a full body suit. I have to cover every part of my skin in order to protect myself from the highly infectious virus: Ebola. I have to wear a plastic protective suit. Next are the surgical gloves and afterwards the boots. I then must place a protective helmet over my head after putting on a surgical mask to protect my mouth. At the end of the day, I remove this suit. The surgical mask and gloves are always the last items that should be removed. Many journalists put themselves at risk whenever they enter the scene.
Another member of our village died a few days ago. Some people in trucks came in and took his body and talked to his family. They looked over the children and wife and told them that if they felt ill to contact them. They sprayed the house and left. It was today that his youngest started to show signs of illness. His mother refused to take him in, and hid him anyway. His father has yet to return, and she does not want to lose her baby.
The mother has now fallen ill, and her and the youngest huddle inside their house. We occasionally hear retching and other awful sounds, but we just ignore them and move on. Someone contacted the men, so we had to hide them. The father is yet to return, and we fear that he may have passed. The mother is under much stress, and we try to help out where we can, but there is not much that we can do.
They have now died, the mother and the child. We walked in on their dead bodies, covered in the sickness. It smelled awful, and I could not stay in there for too long. I fear for the village now, for I do not know how many people have came in contact with them. Maybe we should have given them to the men, but we did not know how to show them. We were scared, and the way they stormed in did not make it any better. Tonight I will pray for the wellbeing of our village.
Point of view health worker
Another day at the compound, as I woke up on the damp morning in Sierra Leone. I go to the meeting house to talk about what we are going to do today to help the Ebola victims. We sing a song to keep our spirits up and go out to work. I put my protective gear on so I don’t get sick. I first put on three layers of gloves, and then my boots. I grab a large yellow hazmat suit and zip that up three times. I put on my face mask and then a hood that I have a helper tie three times. Then I put on my goggles and I’m ready to go.
I’m responsible for giving water and food to the patients there. I have one of the better jobs compared to the waste disposal jobs that some of the other workers there have. I talk the the patients and encourage them to get better. I have to give them lots of water because a hydrated patient is a patient more likely to be cured.
After I am done helping patients I have to take all of my gear off. I try to stay in the gear as long as possible because of the long process of taking it on and off. As I walk in to the decontamination booth, I get sprayed down with chlorine then I take off my hazmat suit and throw it away. I get my first pair of gloves sprayed and then I take off my goggles.Then I get my first pair of gloves sprayed again and I take them off. I get my second pair of gloves sprayed then I take off my hood facing downwards so I get nothing on my face and get my gloves sprayed again. I take off my second pair of gloves, spray my first pair and then take off my last pair of gloves. It is hard work to take on and off your suit.